Newcastle United vs Hull City: Alan Pardew stares down the St James’ storm but more clouds threaten his survival

On Wednesday Pardew has the opportunity to reach the fourth round of the Capital One Cup at Palace

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Alan Pardew survived “Judgement Saturday”, but there remains much for the Newcastle manager to do to add solidity to his position.

For starters, he still needs a Premier League win – victories by Crystal Palace and West Bromwich yesterday sent Newcastle bottom of the table – but trips to Stoke (next Monday) and Swansea (the following Saturday) present yet more problems.

There was a context that was lost amid the sackpardew.com paper aeroplanes grounded on the side of the St James’ Park turf after the 2-2 draw with Hull City. The brave fightback in a performance that suggested Pardew still has his players’ backing was not good enough to beat Hull. Newcastle won 4-1 at the KC Stadium last season, that fateful day when Pardew head-butted David Meyler and sent the club into a downward spiral.

Yes, there was a show of desire – led by Cheick Tioté – and yes, there was the emergence of a goalscorer – Papiss Cissé. His entrance and two late goals (in the 73rd and 87th minutes) ensured calm. That it was possibly a justified point (Newcastle started well, looked powderpuff up front, conceded two excellent goals as Hull took control and then rallied) ensured Pardew walked pitchside at quarter to seven on Saturday night with a renewed spring in his step.

 

“I didn’t think I’d be playing,” said Cissé, who has just returned from injury. “I started training on Tuesday. Then, on Friday, the gaffer said, ‘I think I’ll put you on the bench. You look right and good.’ Then I scored two goals.”

But though the ticking time bomb next to Pardew was defused for now, there remains great unrest around a club which becomes ever stranger, given that any conversations the owner, Mike Ashley, has away from the glare of a camera or the pitfalls of a dictaphone have apparently become club statements. Ashley is said to have told a punter on Saturday that Pardew would be safe. Then again he told Alan Shearer he would be in touch after hearing his plans to get the club back in the Premier League. That was in 2009. Shearer is still waiting.

On Wednesday Pardew has the opportunity to reach the fourth round of the Capital One Cup at Palace. Do not sniff at that. During Ashley’s seven-and-a-half-year ownership, it is as far as Newcastle have gone in a domestic competition.

It also raises more potential controversy. The club’s stated philosophy now is that they do not see either the League Cup or FA Cup as important.

Palace may play a second string under Neil Warnock and Pardew is likely to rest half of his first team. But losing to a bunch of reserves will still not be well received in the black-and-white areas of the North-east that so crave a cup run to mirror what Sunderland did last season – even if there is no desire for one in the boardroom.

Whatever Pardew is or isn’t, he fronted it out on Saturday. He stood in the technical area, as he had promised his players, and even at 2-0 down he did not hide. At some point in the future that may mean something.

Newcastle were losing to two cracking second-half goals from Nikica Jelavic and Mohamed Diamé when Cissé came on to jeers. That was in the 69th minute. By the 87th Cissé had struck twice. He also raised his shirt to reveal a T-shirt paying tribute to team-mate Jonas Gutierrez, who has revealed he is fighting cancer.

That the team now has a centre-forward suggests there may be a more sustainable change in form and foundation, but do not rush there. Newcastle are not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination.

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